[ANNA KARENINA BY LEO TOLSTOY]
Paperback, Movie Tie-In, 976 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Vintage (first published 1877)
ISBN 0345803922 (ISBN13: 9780345803924)
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Now a major motion picture starring Keira Knightly, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, directed by Joe Wright from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard.
Leo Tolstoy’s classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
In their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together.Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.
Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude
Anna Karenina is one of the two main characters in the novel she is an aristocrat from St. Petersburg, Russia. This story takes place in the 1800s, where adultery and divorce was illegal. She captures the attention of everyone in society by the way she carries herself. She commits adultery; she cannot live without her lover. She is well mannered and outspoken. She is a young married woman, who has one young son. Unfortunately she sees a very handsome young man, named Vronsky, and she instantly becomes attracted to him, when their eyes meet. Vronsky is wealthy, he is a military officer. He is passionate, and caring for Anna. He becomes charmed by her beauty upon meeting her. She has an affair with him and commits adultery. She cannot live without her lover, even though her husband tells her to leave him. She is now pregnant with her lovers child, and her husband loves her so much that he is willing to raise the child as his own, as long as she leaves her lover, Vronsky. Her husband Karenin is a high-ranking Government Minister, who forgives her of committing adultery.
Anna is the beautiful, passionate, and educated wife of Alexei Karenin, a cold and passionless government official. Her character is rich in complexity: she is guilty of desecrating her marriage and home, for instance, but she remains noble and admirable nonetheless. Anna is intelligent and literate, a reader of English novels and a writer of children’s books. She is elegant, always understated in her dress. Her many years with Karenin show her capable of playing the role of cultivated, beautiful, society wife and hostess with great poise and grace. She is very nearly the ideal aristocratic Russian wife of the 1870s.
Her affair throws her into social exile, misery and eventually makes her commit suicide, because her love moves on with someone else.
The other main character is Levin. He is independent-minded and socially awkward. He is truly an individual character who fits into none of the obvious classifications of Russian society. Levin is his own person. He follows his own vision of things, even when it is confused and foggy, rather than adopting any group’s prefabricated views. Moreover, Levin prefers isolation over fitting in with a social set with which he is not wholly comfortable. In this he resembles Anna, whose story is a counterpart to his own in its search for self-definition and individual happiness.
He falls in love with Kitty, Anna’s friend, despite that they are from different social classes. Kitty being a Princess, and Levin being a Peasant. The two, struggle to find each other and happiness as they create a life together. . She gives up being a princess because she loves him, and she moves to his farm and becomes a peasant.
Anna struggles between her passion for Vronsky and her desire for independence on the one hand, and her marital duty, social convention, and maternal love on the other; Levin struggles to define his own identity and reach an understanding of faith in an alienating and confusing world
Anna meets Vronsky in the train station, initiating an acquaintance that grows into adulterous passion and family upheaval; their consummation of the affair leads to Anna’s abandonment of her husband and son. Meanwhile, Kitty rebuffs Levin’s marriage proposal, prompting him to withdraw to his estate in the country and reflect on the meaning of life.
Anna makes a public appearance at the opera, forcing a confrontation between her desire to live life on her own terms and the hostile opinions of St. Petersburg society, which scorns and rejects her; this episode seals her fate as a social outcast and fallen woman. Meanwhile, Levin’s search for meaning is rewarded by marriage to Kitty, stable family life, and an understanding of faith.
Anna commits suicide, unable to bear her lack of social freedom and the jealousy and suspicion arising from her unstable relationship with Vronsky. Meanwhile, Levin continues
A man dies at the train station when Anna first arrives, foreshadowing her own death at a train station years later; Vronsky’s actions cause the fall and death of his horse Frou-Frou, foreshadowing the later death of his beloved Anna.
-Society will react negatively to this adultery
-Karenin > willing to overlook Anna’s affair as long as she doesn’t want to get a divorce
-Anna tries to escape society in Italy and on the country side
-Social criticism/marital betrayal
-Forgiveness are sometimes compromised >Dolly forgiving Stiva for cheating
-When Anna begs Karenin [has little effect> Anna continues loving Vronsky]
-Ongoing process that may grow or diminish
-Anna begs for forgiveness before committing suicide
Overall, I really enjoyed both the novel and the film. I usually don’t read novels in this genre, but I really liked this one. If you get a chance, you should definitely check this book out! On Goodreads there’s a ‘Read Book‘ button, that’s if you would want to read the novel! I highly recommend it!
Here’s a Link to the Novel